Form and Melody

The term refers to the form and metrical patterns, as well as content, of poetry. It relates to artistic taste and appeal in poetry criticism. Ge (格) refers to the need to satisfy established metrical rules, while diao (调) refers to the need to follow tone and rhyme schemes in poetry. Some poetry critics of the Tang and Song dynasties stressed the importance of form and melody in order to establish a set of elegant and authoritative standards for poetry. Theory on form and melody in the Ming and Qing dynasties often emphasized the importance for poets to abide by Confucian orthodoxy, thus constraining their expression of feelings and artistic creations. The term was later also used in discussions of other forms of art.


To be elegant and unaffected is to satisfy the requirements of form; to be tuneful and resonant is to follow the rules of melody.

Jiang Kui’s poems are characterized by ethereal purity. Though tinged with loneliness and sadness at times, they are of high standard and taste.